Recently, Bishop Richard Malone added 36 priests’ names to the list of clergyman accused of the sexual abuse of children. The grand total now stands at 78.
Siobhan O’Connor stated before a nationally televised audience, that the total was over 100. It seems as though the bishop has thrown us another bone. Strikingly, a large portion of both lists include the names of priests who have been deceased for many years. This suggests that the deceased were allowed to retire with dignity, while had they been laymen, would have died in their jail cell.
Two of the men on the latest list grew up within a block of where I grew up. They attended the same parochial schools and even served at the same parish we all grew up in at different times in their ministry. One is deceased. A third priest listed on the religious order part of the list, was a longtime science teacher at a popular diocesan high school I attended. He was quietly removed in 1986 after sexually assaulting a student. He’s still alive.
Since having faith in the church of my youth has been very difficult lately, I decided to visit an Episcopal church. I was greeted by a very pleasant female priest. I was surprised to learn that the sacramental system is almost identical. They even offer the sacrament of reconciliation upon request. Also, as demonstrated by O’Connor, very few women would look the other way if they had knowledge of a child being abused, much less, engage in a coverup. I’m thinking seriously of returning.
Robert G. Peterson